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Expect to pay $300,000 on an average for a good 4 seat aircraft

posted Jan 30, 2009, 6:06 AM by Naresh Sharma   [ updated Jan 30, 2009, 7:14 AM ]

If you’re looking to purchase a four-seat single, then you’ve got no shortage of models to select from. Aside from price range, the models encompass a wide variety of performance capabilities and equipment. 68% of Cessna 172 owners rate their aircraft a perfect 10.
The Hottest Four Seaters
The four-seat, fixed-gear single market is unquestionably the most popular segment of general aviation. That’s perhaps the main reason there are so many of the type available. In fact, there are more than a dozen variations of eight separate models in competition for the four-place dollar. 

Which one you choose is dependent upon far more than the size of your bank account. Base prices range from $183,020 for the entry-level Maule MX-7-180 taildragger to $620,000 for the top-of-the-line, turbocharged Cessna 400. Such a tremendous price range suggests a huge difference in capability, basic equipment and performance. The Maule is a truly simple machine, whereas the turbocharged Cessna 400 comes standard with a Garmin G1000/GFC 700 and cruises at nearly double the speed of the basic Maule MX-7. 

It’s important, however, to consider all the other factors that go into a buying decision. Price and cruise speed aren’t the only parameters that buyers consider when evaluating an airplane. Payload, climb rate and resale value are also major concerns, and lately, fuel burn has become an ever more important consideration. 

Perhaps the first question is whether you really need four seats. Obviously, many pilots feel they do, or there wouldn’t be so many four-place machines available (and no reason to write this article). If your kids have long since moved away, and your partner doesn’t like to fly, a two-seater such as a Diamond DA20, Liberty XL2 or an American Champion Super Decathlon could work well, as there are currently no production single-seaters available. The ranks of production, two-seat models are truly limited, perhaps a half-dozen aircraft, so think long and hard about how you’ll use your airplane before making a buying decision.

If you fly with two people and plenty of baggage much of the time, however, the short answer may be “yes.” No reasonable pilot expects a four-place airplane to carry four full-sized folks and full fuel, and sure enough, only one of the airplanes surveyed does. 

We surveyed aircraft owners to break down demographics by aircraft type. Figures are averages based on survey responses

Age (yrs.)IncomeTotal Hours FlownTotal Hours Flown Last Year 
Typical Flight Distance From Home Base (nm)
Cessna 17251$288,158831148143
Cessna 350/40054$586,6071,064154303
Cirrus SR2250$556,522905148312
Diamond DA4050$386,363636130246
Piper PA2856$221,4291,12598171

Figures are averages based on survey responses.

Hangar Rental 
(per month)
Tiedown Fee 
(per month)
Annual Inspection 
(per year)
Cessna 172$370$122$1,411
Cessna 350/400$346$175$2,492
Cirrus SR22$386$100$2,076
Diamond DA40$356$120$1,784
Piper PA28$265$106$1,552